Archive for the ‘Life up north’ Category

On friends

March 31, 2011

I’ve never been the person who has a million friends. I’ve always had one or two close ones, in each of the places I have lived. And it often takes me a little while to develop those friendships. Not sure why, I’m generally a social person. But I guess I feel I need people in my life I can rely on.

I’m in the middle of a several week-long battle with a close friend I’ve known since high school. At one point we dated, then broke up. I consider him a very important part of my life, and has been a constant I rely on.

I don’t fight with friends. I don’t like to fight at all, to be honest. I don’t like to fight with family — I’m always in a hurry to “fix” things. I hate conflict.

I don’t know what happened a couple weeks ago. I don’t get how this friendship got so derailed. I asked him to stop doing something that he had been doing for years that really bothered me. I had reached a point where I felt this was interfering with our friendship. I told him so.

Ever since, it’s feels like I’m back in the early 2000’s. We’re dating, we’re fighting. He says I’m being over-dramatic. I feel like I’m not being given a chance. He disappears. I chase to explain that I’m not trying to be unreasonable. I apologize.

It’s the same cycle. It’s the same crap we did when we were dating. But now I’m fighting for a friendship that I’m not really sure if he wants anymore.

I’ve always believed we could be friends. We were too oil and water to ever be good in a relationship.

But I respected him and he was always there if I needed him. And I hoped he felt he could always come to me too (though admittedly, rarely did).

But maybe friendships have a best-before date. And maybe ours has expired.

It’s hard for me to let people go.

In other news, this week is the one-year anniversary of Paul’s death.

That was a photo I took on the last trip out to his and Sarah’s cabin before I left Rankin Inlet in July 2009. I remember it as a great last weekend. Full of friends, fishing, fun and food.

I still try to talk about him as much as I can. If not with people who knew him, than to people who didn’t. It’s the only way I can keep his memory alive. It’s too bad his story had to end the way it did. It doesn’t do justice to his life.

Paul had amazing taste in music. A couple of weeks ago, my iTunes playlist brought memories of sitting at his old apartment, him getting excited about his latest Amazon shipment of CDs (it was impossible to download most of the time, and Paul liked the real deal anyways). And he put on Duffy’s Rockferry.

Rest in Peace, my friend. We love you dearly and will always keep your memory and spirit alive.


Audition anxiety again

January 29, 2011

Well it must be that time of year again.

The time when I have very little going on and desperately need an excuse to start leaving work on time (because otherwise I am such a suck and will work overtime I won’t be paid for…).

Luckily, I have an audition today. An audition for a part I think I might be made to play.

The play, I never heard of before. It’s called “Sins of the Mother,” it’s about this Irish-American family of women and the way alcoholism has torn them apart as a group, and individually.

Yes, I know, what an uplifting play.

There are two sets of two sisters in this story. One pair are in their 20s/30s. One pair is a mother/aunt.

I’ve become completely taken by this play. I think it’s because I can really relate with the sister dynamic in the younger pair — one is sarcastic and jaded, the other “just tries to make things nice.” And lord knows I’m guilty of both, and I think DD (my sister) and I have bounced back and forth between those two roles regularly in our lives.

I’m going to audition for the more challenging role — the sarcastic jaded sister. She has a couple monologues that I find really powerful, and can relate to.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like my mother is/was an alcoholic, nor my father. Actually, my family has a very ‘healthy’ relationship with alcohol… but I certainly have known people who don’t.

When I lived in Rankin I knew alcohol played a big part in our lives, but I never realized how twisted we were until I moved back down south. I remember walking in the door of my friend’s place, shrugging off my jacket, but not even taking off my boots before I walked in her kitchen and started to pour myself a drink. I didn’t even notice I was doing it at the time, it was just natural. There wasn’t anytime we DIDN’T drink up north. I prided myself on thinking that I was the only one of our close-knit group who DIDN’T have an alcohol problem. And that’s probably not far from the truth. One of my friends used to have regular blackouts. Another would drink a 60 oz bottle of rum in 2 days, and he’d disappear into a black hole, no one would see or hear from him for a whole weekend, he’d be pickling his liver, and couldn’t pick up the phone when we called. Another can’t stop drinking until she passes out. Another killed himself in a drunken stupor.

I won’t get into the sordid details of how one person’s alcoholism affected my life up there, maybe some other time. Suffice to say I needed to deal with a lot of those issues, and have started to…

And in a way, I see this play as a way of finishing that work. That if I get this part, it will be good for me now, to give me something to do — something that I love to do, I’ll be getting back on the stage again — but it’ll be the final step in the healing. Verbalizing the last of the anger (albeit in a proxy sort of way) and then I can move on.

I don’t know if I’ll get the part, I have no idea. But I didn’t even try for the last one, and regretted it for months. So no more regrets.

Put yourself out on a limb, Jackie.

Taking a leaf out of NTV’s book

October 31, 2010

One of the funny, but not all that surprising parts of cable television in Rankin Inlet (and I expect other parts of Nunavut as well) was the inclusion of Newfoundland Television (NTV). Funny, because it is/was a really low-budget station from half a country away, but not surprising because of the sheer density of Newfoundlanders up north.

One of NTV’s trademarks was its random filler music videos. Almost every commercial break, at the very end, they would play about 40 seconds of a song/music video. Always ending abruptly before the show resumed.

I don’t totally know why they did this, I figured maybe they didn’t have to pay royalties if they only played a segment of the song. Maybe it was an easier way of timing out the commercials, who knows.

But now MTV (Canada) is doing it too. The channel really doesn’t show any music videos anymore. Just reality TV about short orange italians. And pregnant 16 year olds. And they’ve gotten in trouble with the CRTC for it too. But what they ARE doing now is “promoing” music videos, by showing 40 second clips, and then directing people to their web site to see the full song.

It’s exactly what NTV has been doing for years. But with more web traffic as a possible bonus.

Things I am never allowed to buy again

September 11, 2010
  • Writing utensils: this includes pens, pencils (both regular and mechanical), markers, hilighters, and all species of Sharpies (regular, micro-sized, black and multi-coloured)
  • Earbud earphones (I found 5 different sets today)
  • Dog treats (I found a whole stocking full of 20 or 30 large dog treats I bought on sale after Christmas two years ago. Good thing rawhide never goes bad…)
  • 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cables (I only ever use this when I’m in a rental car and I want to hook up my iPod — but do you think I ever remember to pack one of them when I leave the house? No. That’s why I discovered 5 of them in various boxes this afternoon)
  • Razors (Seriously, I must have thought I was heading into the Amazon for an extended period of time. I probably have about 40 unused, in-package razors. I blame, in part, Jaime. She dumped about three 10-packs on me when she left for Iqaluit.
  • Ipod cases
  • Network cable (I have enough to wire a mansion, but alas, we’ve all gone wireless now, haven’t we?)
  • RCA cables (Enough for four televisions — I have two, and one of them is HD, so no need)
  • Binders
  • Notebooks/Journals (I now have at least 3 or 4 black hard-cover notebooks that I started writing in, only to abandon for the latest version of black hard-cover notebook)
  • Lip gloss
  • Moisturizer
  • Pennies

Okay well you don’t technically buy pennies, but I have enough of them to put a kaibash on all off the little copper bastards for the rest of my life.

So it’s that time of year again! That time when I like to put all my wordly goods in various sized Rubbermaid containers and cardboard boxes and truck them to a new home. This time I’m just moving across the city — not the country, for once — so it should be a lot less to organize.

But the shameful thing I realized today (which was connected to unearthing the above list of excess useless cords, cables and do-dads) there were four boxes/Rubbermaid totes marked “misc.” that I never unpacked from the last move. Seriously.

So I spend the whole afternoon sorting through them. I had a bunch of “a-ha!” moments, like when I found my home-made first aid kit (I can now add Band-aids to the above list of things never to buy again) and my SIN card. But I also unearthed a bunch of stuff I haven’t though of or used for the past year, but can’t get rid of.

As a friend of mine once liked to repeat (over and over and over) “The things you own, end up owning you” — Fight Club

Admittedly, most of it’s junk. Coasters from pubs I ate at with my grandmother and sister when we were in the UK two years ago. Letters from old boyfriends. An order form from one time when I did a liquor order through Churchill from Rankin. CDs I’d transferred onto my laptop years ago, no longer really listen to, but have held on to. Unopened issues of WIRED magazine.

Eventually I’m going to have to do a harsh purge of this stuff– sentiment be damned. The magazines, will go, no doubt (once I make sure they do their due dilligence on washroom rotation). But the coasters, the CDs… that will be harder. As I sifted through all this STUFF I took little jaunts down memory lane.

And ultimately, that’s why I keep it all. I keep it because I want to come back to the boxes and sift through and remember.

Because I always uncover memories I’d long forgotten.

Digital and real-life connections

May 8, 2010

In January of last year, I went to Mexico for the very first time. It was a weird point in my life, I had spent Christmas away from home for the very first time and was going through some relationship things.

Bottom line is that I desperately needed to be away from Rankin. My darling mom recognized this and donated some Air Miles to my cause and I hastily booked a trip to Rincon de Guayabitos. No, I couldn’t say the name of the town when I booked it. I still can’t figure out if I’m saying “rincon” right.

I picked the resort in that little town* because I wanted something quiet. I needed reflection time, I needed me-time. I needed to live in my own brain for a bit.

So I got to my little resort on the ocean, and was probably the only “single” there. Yes, I was there by myself. I wanted to be. This wasn’t a big deal for me, I’m fairly independent… but was apparently a novel idea to everyone I met. They couldn’t believe I had come to Mexico by myself.

The flipside to that was everyone at the resort took me under their wing. I had the group of ladies I played Yahtzee and card games with in the Sports Bar. I had the two older, married men I walked with late at night and made wild and crazy scuba diving plans with (and never carried out). But most of all, I had this mother-daughter pair, Lorraine and Shannon who invited me to eat with them one night… and then every single night thereafter.

Each evening, we’d sit at the one a-la-carte restaurant, and put way too much thought into what we were going to have to eat. The servers would bring Lorraine and I glasses of mediocre wine. Shannon would joke that she was the only person on the resort NOT drinking — she was my age, but a couple months pregnant. Over the pick of the day we’d chat about the adventures we’d been up to. Me: rapelling down waterfalls. They: swimming with dolphins. Me: Whale watching on the Pacific. They: a culture tour through rural Mexico.

I spent a lot of time by myself on that trip, but at the same time I had this little network of people who checked in on me.  Shannon and Lorraine were at the centre of it.

We parted ways. I went back up to Rankin much more tanned, at peace and relaxed. They went north too… to Prince George. We did the Facebook-add thing, but (as most of us do) didn’t communicate in any way shape or form.

Then I moved to Kelowna and we’ve been back in contact. Not in any large way. A comment here, a “heard you on the radio there.” Shannon’s since had a baby girl. It’s still just me and the pup.

I’ve toyed with the idea of going to Prince George a couple times, we have a CBC bureau and I’m friends with some of the folks that work there. I’ve always wondered if it would be weird to contact Shannon for coffee (or whatever it is people with babies do… ). Facebook is strange that way. I have 300 “friends” who I broadcast my daily stream of consciousness to, but I know most of them only superficially.

Then yesterday, she mentioned Kelowna in an update, and I asked her if she was coming through town.This morning, not only did she say she was in town, but invited me to go on a wine tour with her and the family.

Yet again, this girl is looking out for me, taking me under her wing. Apprehensive-Jackie would waffle on this a bit, not wanting to intrude on a family thing and probably convince herself not to go. But I’m trying to get rid of that girl (or at least give her a punch in the face when she’s being annoying).

This online world is so strange sometimes. This afternoon I’m going to hang out with a girl I met a year and a half ago in Mexico, and her respective family. While I’ve had friends who I really genuinely KNOW who are full-aware that I live in Kelowna. They’ve visited Kelowna, and not made no effort to even contact me.

*and by “the” I MEAN “the” — it was the only one, and I now realize it was tiny! And by “little” town I MEAN “little” — about 5 thousand people — and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page I can link you to.

I miss you, though you’re just barely gone.

March 29, 2010

I don’t think there’s been a single moment since I left Rankin that I longed to be back.

Until tonite. And now, all I want is to get on the first plane up there. All I want is to hug my friends. Curl up on their government-issue couch. And bawl.

One of my very close friends from Rankin Inlet killed himself this evening.

For some reason, seeing those words get tapped out by fingers that can only be my own (but don’t feel it), makes it seem even more real. I think I’m still in denial. When Jeff (the ex) sent me that email to call him at home ASAP, I almost rolled my eyes.

And when Jeff told me he was dead, a little piece of me died too.

I keep going back to his facebook profile. It’s still the same. I still see his face smiling back at me from what I believe is a grove of tea trees. I still see who he’s befriended in the past couple of days. Still see the vacation photos posted on his wall.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe a “deceased” stamp across his chest.

I don’t know how to deal with this. I don’t know where to start. Part of me is just so heartbroken, just so sad that this happened. Just so devastated that this person is gone from my life forever.

But that’s just the beginning. Because really, the more I think about it, the more I just don’t understand. And the more I boil with anger.

Why whywhywhYWHYWNHWYWHYW!!!!?!?!


I’ve BEEN depressed. I’ve DEALT with demons. THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY. And I just… I just don’t understand how you do this to the ones you love. Your fiancé. Your child.

You’re gone. They remain. And THEY are the ones that have to deal with the consequences of YOUR actions. And it will always, ALWAYS haunt them.

But the truth is, underneath all the anger is just plain old despair. You were so good to me. So kind. So understanding. So helpful. You opened up a part of the world for me, and I’ll forever love you for it.

I miss you so much.

Even though you’re just barely gone.

Go Fred Schell!

March 11, 2010

Fred Schell (Nunavut MLA for South Baffin — That’s Cape Dorset and Kimmirut) was on As It Happens tonight.  I know my arctic radar has been on hyper-alert ever since I left.

Which is funny because I NEVER paid attention to anything North before I moved. And “moved” can actually probably include while I was living in Nunavut too.

Anyways, so Fred Schell was on AIH. Talking about the seal ban. And his idea for a really creative  response to the EU’s decision.

The European Union is going to ban seal products? Okay.

Nunavut’s going to ban European Union alcohol products.

I love it.

Now of course, a Nunavut liquor ban probably won’t make a big dent in Smirnoff international alcohol sales (yes, we drink a lot, but not THAT much). But as Schell said, it’s symbolic. And pretty smart, if you ask me.

Also? The country may have gotten a little window into the Nunavut Way near the end of the interview. The host (who was sitting in for Carol Off/Barbara Bud) said that having to have EU liquor specially shipped in by individuals would be a huge inconvenience, when they could just go to the local liquor store and pick up a bottle*. Schell then went into an explanation of how we don’t have liquor stores, we have liquor warehouses. And people from Iqaluit can’t buy from the Iqaluit warehouse. And the people in Rankin can’t buy from the Rankin warehouse.

That must have been startling for some southerners out there.

If you want to listen to the interview, you can find it here:

*Wow, that phrase is revealing. I didn’t write a bottle of wine. Or a bottle of beer. Or a bottle of rum, just a bottle.

Unwanted gift

February 17, 2010

Back in Rankin, I used to check the mail twice a day, most days. It was tradition, and precisely timed to coincide with the latest mail shipment (coming either north from Winnipeg or east from Yellowknife). Sometimes, I made arrangements with friends to get the mail at the same time. So we’d meet at the post office, and hopefully have to spend 15 minutes there, standing in line parcel-slip in hand.

And when I didn’t want to go in, I could just call down to Hannah (the charming postie with the only kiwi accent in town) and ask if anything arrived for me. She would know most times without even checking the system. She’d remember if she saw my name on a package.

That’s not the case anymore. My mailbox sits downstairs, but I maybe only get around to checking it every couple of days. Though I’ve been trying to get better at that.

Today, I got a letter from CBC. It was from the Pension centre. We get little notes about our balances etc. every couple of months. I normally don’t even look at the total, I just shred them when I see what it is.

It’s a good thing I didn’t this time.

This is NOT a good thing.

This is too much temptation. I’d LOVE to deposit this cheque. But I shouldn’t. I can’t! It was sent in error, they were supposed to hold on to the pension money for six months and then if I hadn’t been re-hired by then, they’d pay it out in the manner of my choice.

Now I have to go straighten this out. Because I know it’s in my best interest to have that money sitting in a pension somewhere. I know that every day when I walk down the street and see all these retired folks doing silly retiree things. I know it when I hear my coworkers talk about itching for early retirement.

But really? It’s hard to think that practically. I’m 24. I’d love to just keep it.

Order of the day

November 23, 2009

It’s funny, when I lived up north my place was a constant mess.

Seriously. It was embarrassing. I hated having people over because it always meant that I had hours of cleaning to do beforehand. I didn’t even like answering the door because I knew that people could just peek around the corner and see my kitchen counter littered with dishes.

In hindsight, I’ve said that it was because I didn’t ‘respect’ my apartment. I didn’t like it, I never would have chosen it if I had the option. It was too big, it was poorly laid out, it was old.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly a high maintenance girl when it comes to apartments. Granted, I’ve lived in some nice places: but they weren’t the ritziest. My first place in Ottawa was nice enough. Maybe a bit dated but it was the perfect size for my room mates and I, and it had two floors with the bedrooms upstairs. My second place was in Quebec City in a cute little 1-bedroom in Vieux Quebec. That place was a find. Again, it wasn’t ultra posh — the floors were slanted in one direction and there was probably about 20 coats of paint on the walls (underneath the one I ceremoniously slapped on there with Robyn). But I loved that little apartment … and it showed. I was meticulous with dishwashing. My closet was organized according to type of garment and colour.

That all stopped in Rankin. Some of it was that I never really unpacked. Some of it was never really knowing what to do with all that freaking space. And — I’m ready to admit it now — some of it was just general unhappiness.

How things have changed.

I’m back to my old self, it seems. Control freak extraordinaire. Organization Queen. Every time I unload my dishwasher I smile because all of my glasses fit neatly into one cupboard. All the pens go in my Innatech mug with the broken handle. Sully’s toys in the toy basket.

One of the things I love most about living alone is that everything is always right where I last put it. And what with me being a neurotic freak lately, I always know where that place is.

This is a very good thing.

The shoe drops

November 19, 2009

Aaaand then today I got a parking ticket.

The irony being of course that today, I fed the meter all day long, starting at 9am sharp.

And dutifully moved it every 2 hours (because dem’s the rules).

And at some point mid-day I missed the expiry by about 10 minutes at the VERY MOST.

And got a ticket.